Travel

Elephant’s Eye

My hiking adventures are back and in full swing! It is a bit daunting to be swinging back now in Summer considering how hot it is going to be but I am ready to feel like the old “new” me again- if that makes sense. This past weekend I had the opportunity of joining a friend on a hike, and I’ll admit I was quite hesitant but, honestly, I NEEDED it. It was beautiful!

If you have been following my journey on social media since moving to the Western Cape, you know my love for hiking is deeper than any form of my personal self-care practices, and I have fallen off the track due to a busy schedule and the struggles that come with coping with anxiety (which is something I am working on).

Elephant’s Eye and Silvermine Reservoir 

Elephant’s Eye is one of the easiest trails on Table Mountain through the Silvermine reservoir track. This hike is one of the easiest I have participated in to date, alongside that of Lion’s Head. Silvermine trail was added to the Table Mountain National Park in 1998 making it easier to protect and safer for hikers.

It is a two-hour summit and not only does it have the best views of Constantia, but also a fresh breeze from the flowing rivers that run along the trails. Unlike Lion’s Head, the hike is mostly a flat trail before reaching a 10 minute incline into the eye (of the cave). I was mesmerized by the moss sprouting on the roof of the cave: it’s almost like a matte green blanket glistening with hundreds of refreshing drops of dew – it is a beautiful sight!

How to get there and Entry fees:

The trip to the starting point of the hike is a 40-minute drive from Observatory via the M3. Unfortunately, there is no access to public transport that far out of town, unless using an Uber or some other form of transport services. In this case, I recommend organising a group of 2 or more friends to join the adventure in order to split the cost.

As National Parks go, there is always a fee to enter a protected park and South African citizens are liable to pay R31; given they provide proof of nationality; or R61 should you be without proof – whereas international citizens from the African Union pay R122. If you hold a VIP card as a member of the parks, you can access the park either free of charge or at a discounted rate.

What to bring:

Bring everything you will need to feel comfortable, that is the first rule of hiking, also ensure that you are able to carry those items (check out my Lion’s Head Hike). The following are what you will need:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sun hat
  • Sun screen
  • Shades/Sun glasses
  • Comfortable pants to be able to climb up in.
  • Water (lots of it)
  • Snacks (sandwiches, chips, sweets, biltong, etc.)
  • Light sweater

What to do at the top and after the hike:

What stands out about the Elephant’s Eye cave is that it’s big enough to accommodate a great number of people, so you and your team can enjoy a small lunch while taking in the beautiful surroundings. After the hike, I highly suggest taking a walk back to the Silvermine reservoir for a quick dip in the dam, which is child and pet friendly so the whole family can enjoy!

There are also seated areas with built-in braai stands for people who wish to braai or make food while enjoying the summer sun. I think this is a cool factor as it helps prevent illegal fires, in turn protecting these hiking trails and the natural inhabitants in the area.

I would rate this hike a good 8 out of 10 for the easy terrain and scenic views, as well as access to toilet facilities! I would like to make an appeal to the SANParks to try and put bins along the trails to help hikers discard items and prevent any possible pollution through littering. Watch out for baboons…

When you can travel the world, you are lucky. But when you travel around your country and enjoy it, it is a right and a privilege because only a few see beauty in the places they call home.

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